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The 10 Commandments of Makeup Brushes

Your essential guide to making the most out of your makeup brushes
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Makeup brushes are essential for creating a flawless makeup look. Have you ever tried to blend eye shadow with your fingers? Not pretty. But even though they can make applying foundation, eye shadow, blush and contour products much easier, they can also make your makeup application a whole lot more difficult if you're using them wrong. So, we came up with a list of rules (commandments, if you will) that will ensure your brushes live up to their full potential.

Here, the must-follow rules to help you get the most out of your makeup brushes.

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No. 1: Practice Makes Perfect
They say it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something. Now, we're not saying you should clock that much time with your brushes, but you should recognize that you're not going to become a contouring wiz overnight. Play around with your brushes, read up on them online and learn how to wield them like a pro.

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No. 2: Clean Your Brushes for Hygienic Purposes
We'll admit that cleaning brushes is not the most fun aspect of makeup (kind of like how it's always fun to cook, but cleanup is the worst). But, it's incredibly necessary.

A study at Loyola Marymount University found that there was significant bacterial activity on unwashed makeup brushes after just one week -- but not any more so than you would come in contact with on a daily basis. But after two weeks, the bacteria doubled, and by the end of the month, well, let's just say the results weren't pretty. Not only can this bacteria cause acne, it can even result in more serious problems, like eye infections. To make matters worse, the brushes also transfer germs into whichever products you dip them in.

Keep in mind that brushes that come into contact with cream or liquid products are even bigger breeding grounds for bacteria, as they thrive in moist conditions.

Moral of the story: Deep cleanse your makeup brushes at least every one to two weeks.

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No. 3: Clean Your Brushes for the Good of Your Skin
Not only can dirty makeup brushes cause breakouts and infections, they can also ruin the quality of your brush. Read: Those soft, lovely bristles you loved swirling over your face in the beginning can turn hard and abrasive, which can irritate and scratch your skin, making it way less fun to apply makeup.

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No. 4: Know How to Clean Your Brushes
Okay, we've hammered home the importance of clean brushes -- but you can't just stick your makeup tools in the dishwasher. To wash bristled brushes, makeup artists recommend using a mild cleanser, or even baby shampoo.

Put a squirt of cleanser onto your hand and swirl the brush around in it, letting water lightly run over your hand. Keep the handle of your brush dry to prevent the glue that holds it together from breaking down.

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